AZ Prepares for 2012 Wildfire Season

[caption id="attachment_216" align="alignnone" width="640"]The June 2011 Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history. Photo from the Southwest Incident Management Team [/caption]Last year Arizona experienced their largest wildfire in the state’s history deemed the Wallow Fire. This year forest officials are gearing up for in hopes to prevent another disaster from happening for the 2012 fire season.

“In Arizona we always have the potential for large fires, it is a fire state” said Cliff Pearlburg, Fire Information Officer for the Arizona State Forestry Division. According to Pearlburg, Arizona is “unique” in that every ecosystem is represented in the state. This makes it difficult to assess the possible severity of the annual wildfire season.

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AZ Healthcare Center Stands Up to Rural Challenges

After working 23 years in the healthcare field, Margaret Morales still hasn’t tired of the constant business her daily job entails. Born and raised in Douglas, Ariz., Morales is the clinic manager for the town’s only Rural Healthcare Center, one of eight government-funded programs throughout the state.

“I got involved in the medical field because I wanted something different and to learn. The job is never ending and there is always a need for medical services.”

With a population of around 17,000 people, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, the quiet town of Douglas knows this need for healthcare services all too well. The area is one of the many rural communities throughout Arizona considered medically underserved, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The problem for rural America is a large land area with a low population and trying to bring physicians to areas with few healthcare dollars, said Jim Dickson, CEO of the Copper Queen Community Hospital.

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Cancer Outreach in Rural Arizona

There are 5.1 million rural Arizona residents, according to a 2000 USDA Economic Research survey. It is difficult for many health institutions to provide cancer preventative services to these rural areas due to lack in resources and outreach. Unfortunately, these persons have higher rates for late-stage diagnosis among men and women. Here are some rural populations in Arizona that have specific programs designed to target the needs of their communities.

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